Imagine rising with the South African sun. Driving out of your camp, filled with anticpation as you keep your eyes peeled for an overnight lion kill, a leopard casually draped over the branch of a big tree or a herd of elephants taking a morning stroll. Then ask yourself, is there anywhere else in the world you’d rather be?
The Kruger National Park is home to thousands of animals. From giraffes browsing for Acacia leaves to chew on and a herd of buffalo crossing the road right in front of you, to elusive big cats enjoying a spot of shade and fish eagles letting out their distinctive call – it’s the Lion King in live action.
It’s hard to believe your eyes when you see the herds of hundreds of antelope or crocodiles basking in the afternoon sun while the hippos keep cool under water. Not to mention the things you’ll hear, they are just as unbelievable – hyenas cackling the night away as male lions roar for dominance, and if you’re lucky, the almost silent footsteps of a pack of wild dogs on the prowl.
This is just a small taste of all the things you can see, hear and do in one of the world's most-loved game parks.
By road from Johannesburg it's approximately a five-hour drive (depending where you enter the park). You can also travel by plane to Kruger Park International Airport in Mbombela (Nelspruit) and drive from there.
It’s best to hire your own vehicle – preferably a mini-van because you’ll sit high up and have a better chance to spot game.
A guided sunset tour. You get a glorious view of a spectacular African sunset, see game coming to drink, and then have the excitement of a spotlight night drive.
South African National Parks central reservations
Tel: +27 12 428 9111
There’s accommodation to suit all budgets, from basic campsites and cottages to spacious family lodges. Book well in advance.
The camp shops supply plenty of eats and drinks. Their braai meat is particularly good. If you’re not self-catering, all the bigger camps have restaurants.
The camp shops offer a great selection of wildlife books, DVDs, bush clothing and African curios.
Winter is the best time for game-spotting. The grass is low and animals are dependent on waterholes. Summer is hot, but scenically very beautiful, and there are lots of baby animals to see.
At least three nights, much more if possible as there is plenty to see and do. Some regular visitors spend up to a month in the park at a time.
The Kruger National Park enjoys a great year-round sunny climate and offers all kinds of activities, from guided game drives and bush walks with an armed ranger to three-night walking trails in deep wilderness areas.
With so much to see and do, it’s hardly surprising that the Kruger National Park gets over 1.4 million visitors a year. However, because it's so big – 352km from north to south, and covering over 1.9 million hectares with 2500km of tar and dirt roads – you will be amazed at how often you find yourself being treated to a private sighting. Don’t be fooled though, with so many expertly-camouflaged animals calling the park home, you’re never really alone.
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